Arusha National Park and Mama Anna’s

Blog Arusha National Park and Mama Anna’s 5.24

I couldn’t have asked for a better last weekend in Tanzania.

Saturday we went on a walking safari through Arusha National Park. The park is absolutely beautiful! Being able to walk around the park and hike part of Mt. Meru is something that I will never forget. The view from the mountain is spectacular. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife, but we did see buffalo, warthogs, giraffes, and baboons. We hiked to a waterfall that was absolutely breathtaking; none of the pictures do it any justice. The part where we were hiking was part of the Meru caldera and so most of the rock was basalt. I haven’t seen a lot of dark volcanic rock here like I was expecting, and the change was beautiful. The geology of Tanzania is very interesting and being able to experience it first hand is amazing. The contrast between the dark rock, lush green of the trees, and the rushing water is stunning.

After the park we drove up to the village of Mulala. This area does not see as much tourism as the other places that we traveled. As we drove up the winding roads, people would stop and stare and sometimes wave. The children were especially interested and would stare and smile at us. My favorite part was when a child ran alongside the road yelling “mazungu” which means white person in Swahili. While walking through the village the children would stop and stare then run away to get their siblings.

Mama Anna is perhaps the kindest person that I have ever met. She was once a very poor woman until one day she was given a cow through Heifer International. From this single cow she started a cooperative business with other women in the area. Together they produce and sell milk, cheese, honey, and coffee. Through the Tanzanian Cultural Tourism Program they invite people into their homes and teach them about their business and culture. Using the profits from the business and tourism, The Agape Women Group has built two schools in their town and are currently building a third.

While at Mama Anna’s small farm, we learned how to milk a cow, make cheese, harvest honey, and make coffee. The women cooked for us traditional dinner, breakfast, and lunch and it was the most delicious food that I have had on the entire trip. Everyone was extremely generous and welcoming and I cannot thank Mama Anna, her son Justin, and all of the women enough for this amazing opportunity.

        

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